No more blues, Cards crush Saint Louis

No. 24 Louisville knocked off Saint Louis in impressive fashion Wednesday night at the Savvis Center, 75-48.

Louisville (19-7, 9-6) is singing the blues no more.

Struggling through much of February because of injuries, the No. 24 Cardinals appeared fully healthy in dispatching Saint Louis, 75-48 for their second consecutive victory.

"In every phase of the game tonight we were focused on making everybody look better," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "All we were worried about was improving every possession. We're making strides and the reason we are is because we're getting healthy."

Behind a smothering defensive effort and strong play on offense from Francisco Garcia, Kendall Dartez and Otis George, Louisville led the entire way, using a 15-4 run to build a 40-19 lead at the break.

In the second half of action, Saint Louis never threatened as the Cardinals used a 16-9 run to open the half and its lead to 28.

From the midway point of the second half, Louisville continued to pound the Billikens, dominating the home team on the glass and forcing 20 turnovers against a usually steady ball handling team. Junior guard Larry O'Bannon led the way on the defensive end with 4 steals.

The Cards largest lead came at 75-39 with 4:15 remaining.

"We came in here thinking we got the monkey off our back [against Memphis]," Alhaji Mohammed said. "We just wanted to come in, have fun and play our game. We came out and pressured them and did a good job."

Garcia led the Cardinals with 17 points and also contributed 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Dartez had his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and George finished with 13 points on 6-7 shooting, several coming on dunks.

"Otis and Kendall were really outstanding tonight and helped us considerably on defense," Pitino said.

Louisville, who had been outrebounded the past six games, won the battle of the boards 36-26.

Reggie Bryant led Saint Louis with 15 points and was the only Billiken to reach double-figures.

LOUISVILLE (19-7)

Garcia 5-17 6-6 17, George 6-7 1-2 13, Dartez 4-7 4-4 12, Dean 3-6 0-0 7, Mohammed 2-3 1-1 5, O'Bannon 3-8 1-2 9, Whitehead 0-5 3-4 3, Jenkins 2-2 1-2 6, Tinch 0-0 0-0 0, Gianiny 0-0 0-0 0, Daniels 1-1 0-0 3, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Current 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 17-21 75.

SAINT LOUIS (15-11)

Ohanon 1-6 2-4 4, Sloan 3-4 0-0 8, Fisher 2-5 4-5 9, Drejaj 2-6 0-0 6, Bryant 5-14 2-2 15, Vouyoukas 0-0 0-0 0, Hunt 1-4 0-0 2, Johnson 1-3 2-2 4, Varner 0-1 0-0 0, Mooney 0-0 0-0 0, Bennett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 10-13 48.

Halftime-Louisville 40-19. 3-Point Goals-Louisville 6-23 (O'Bannon 2-4, Jenkins 1-1, Daniels 1-1, Dean 1-4, Garcia 1-11, Current 0-2), Saint Louis 8-25 (Bryant 3-9, Sloan 2-3, Drejaj 2-6, Fisher 1-2, Ohanon 0-1, Varner 0-1, Hunt 0-3). Fouled out-Fisher. Rebounds-Louisville 36 (Dartez 11), Saint Louis 26 (Sloan 5). Assists-Louisville 15 (Garcia 6), Saint Louis 10 (Sloan, Fisher, Johnson 2). Total fouls-Louisville 17, Saint Louis 18. A-11,020.


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